Illuminated Manuscripts

Medieval Manuscript Manual

Easy to navigate, this excellent site presents useful background information on several aspects of the Medieval manuscript: patronage, use, production, format, typology, and illumination. Included are clearly written explanations, an integrated glossary, and a bibliography of relevant sources.

Bodleian Library – Images of Manuscripts (Oxford University)

Created by the Bodleian Library of Oxford University, this site offers access to over 1000 images of illuminated manuscripts dating from the 11th to the 17th century. The manuscripts are listed according to century and country of origin, allowing for easy navigation. Each manuscript page can be viewed in three sizes, which allows users to view details with very high resolution. This site should be particularly useful for those pursuing Medieval and Early Modern Art History, Literature, and Music.

Codices Electronici Sangallenses – Virtual Library

This virtual library provides access to over 250 Medieval codices held in the Abbey Library of St. Gall (Switzerland). The interface allows the user to view and zoom in on individual pages and bindings. The resolution is excellent. All codices date to before AD 1000.

Digital Scriptorium

The Digital Scriptorium is an image database of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts that unites resources from many institutions into an international tool for teaching and scholarly research. Special emphasis is placed on manuscripts signed and dated by their scribes. The site is very well organized and easy to navigate, and all images are of a high resolution and provided with detailed records.

Early Manuscripts at Oxford University 

This great site provides access to over 80 manuscripts (ranging from the 9th to the 17th century) from seven collections. Users are able to view entire manuscripts, with each page available at a very high resolution.


This French site presents more than 80,000 images (e.g. marginalia, initials, scenes) from illuminated Medieval manuscripts.  Images can be browsed according to subject, title, author, and type of illumination. The site also offers “visites virtuelles,” which allow students to become familiar with various types of manuscript illumination.

Leaves of Gold: Treasures of Manuscript Illumination from Philadelphia Collections (Exhibition)

Created for a 2001 exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art of more than 80 Medieval and Renaissance miniature paintings, this site provides basic information on and some images of Bibles, Books of Hours, Psalters, and liturgical and literary manuscripts. Useful as a survey of different types of illuminated manuscripts from the Medieval and Early Modern periods.


This is the search site for illuminated manuscripts held at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France. The site, which is in French, offers images of the manuscripts as well related information.

Medieval Manuscripts in Dutch Collections

This database contains descriptions of all Medieval manuscripts (up to ca. 1550) written in Latin script and preserved in public and semi-public collections in the Netherlands. The site is extensive in scope, but the information offered is in-depth and well organized. First-time users may find it useful to read through the instructions on how to navigate the site. The site also includes some images of manuscripts as well as articles that present highlights of various Dutch collections.

Princeton Digital Library of Islamic Manuscripts: Illustrated and Illuminated Manuscripts

Presenting illustrated and illuminated Islamic manuscripts, this is a section of a larger site that provides access to the collections of Islamic manuscripts in the Princeton University Library. The manuscripts in the library’s collections are chiefly in Arabic but also include Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and other languages of the Islamic world; they date from the early centuries of Islam through to the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Subjects covered by the manuscripts include: Theology, Law, History, Biography, Book Arts and Illustration, Language and Literature, Science, Magic, and the Occult.

Roman de la Rose

Dedicated to establishing a collection of all known manuscript copies of the 13th-century text, Roman de la Rose, this site provides access to the collection along with a brief history and summary of the original text. The site is easy to navigate and the user is able to zoom in to view the details.

Speculum Theologiae

The Speculum Theologiae is a Medieval collection (from a Cistercian abbey in Germany) of didactic diagrams that served as a mnemonic aid in the instruction of the principles of morality. The site includes the diagrams along with explanatory essays and useful English translations of the diagrams’ Latin headings.